Teen found not guilty in gas station murder retrial

OXFORD, MS (WLOX) - A Moss Point teen being retried for capital murder has been found not guilty.

Tevin Benjamin was 14 when he was arrested in connection with the 2008 shooting death of Michael David Porter. The Hattiesburg grandfather was gunned down at a Moss Point gas station during a robbery attempt.

"I am shocked and disappointed with the verdict handed down today," District Attorney Tony Lawrence said. "This is one of the most painful things I've had to endure as District Attorney."

Benjamin was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. But, the state supreme court reversed the decision, saying Benjamin's rights were violated when he was questioned by police.

"When we tried this case the first time in Jackson County, all 12 jurors voted to find him guilty of capital murder. Today, all 12 jurors from Lafayette County voted to find him not guilty. The difference between the two trials turns on the decision handed down by the Mississippi Supreme Court. In that decision, the Court found that the defendant did not voluntarily waive his Miranda rights because they found that his mother unknowingly became an agent of the State and coerced her son to give a statement to law enforcement. As a result, the jury never heard a critical piece of evidence against the defendant because we were unable to use his statement at this trial."

Lawrence said watching the victim's family endure yet another trial has been painful.

"My heart goes out to Linda and the entire Porter family. They have had to sit through four different trials detailing how their loved one was killed; and now, at the last one, they had to watch one of the individuals involved in killing their family member walk out of the courtroom."

Benjamin's retrial was held in Lafayette County because of all of the publicity surrounding this case.

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